A recent poll conducted by Forsa and commissioned by RTL/n-tv found that 57 percent of Germans believe that the sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union actually hurt Germany more than they hurt Russia.
Meanwhile, 30 percent of respondents, a steep increase compared to previous polls, would support easing or even entirely lifting the sanctions regime. Although in June, 55 percent of Germans stood by Ukraine’s accession to the EU, today only 42 percent would welcome such a step, with 49 percent strongly opposing the accession.
What’s there to say? That we told you so?
Since the very first days of the implementation of Brussels’ sanctions package on Russia, Hungary, and particularly Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, have been speaking up against the measure in the strongest possible terms. PM Orbán warned Western European decision-makers and Brussels bureaucrats on multiple occasions that, if not treated very carefully, the energy sanctions on Russia could seriously backfire.
Speaking at a panel discussion in Berlin just yesterday, Prime Minister Orbán didn’t mince words about his view of Brussels’ sanctions policy. “Brussels' sanctions policy against Russia is primitive in design and disastrous in effect,” he said, adding that if the sanctions had been properly designed, energy prices would not be "skyrocketing" and European economies would not be threatened with "going bankrupt."
Similarly, in a speech in September, Prime Minister Orbán declared that “the attempts to weaken Russia have not succeeded. By contrast, it is Europe that could be brought to its knees by brutal inflation and energy shortages resulting from sanctions.” Because of the war and the sanctions, there is the fear that there will not be enough energy in Europe. The issue is creating tension across the whole of Europe, threatening businesses, public institutions, and factories alike.
While there are around 11,000 sanctions currently in force against Russia, this didn’t stop Russia’s key energy companies, Gazprom and the like, from achieving record-breaking profits since the war in Ukraine began. Europe’s people and businesses, on the other hand, have had to endure a larger-than-ever burden caused by rapidly increasing energy prices.
Finally, it seems, Hungarians are not the only ones in Europe who see Brussels’ sanctions policy for what it really is: a rushed, ineffective and counterproductive measure that causes far more pain than gain.